Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Flu Arrives in CA Prison System

As reported by CDCR:

SACRAMENTO - The State Viral Lab is reporting that the inmate case at Centinela State Prison that had been categorized as 95% probable has now been confirmed. The inmate remains in Centinela Prison. His case remains mild. The infected inmate’s cellmate remains under quarantine but has not exhibited any symptoms of H1N1 Influenza. The actions taken by California Prison Health Care Services (CPHCS) and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) appear to have stemmed the spread of the virus at Centinela Prison. No other potential cases have been reported there.

However, the receiver’s office is currently monitoring numerous other potential cases throughout the system that have been sent for testing. More detail on those cases will be available once they are deemed probable or are confirmed. Due to the new potential cases, the visiting restrictions will continue in effect until further notice.

Much has been said in the last few days about the justification for the swine flu panic that has been sweeping the world. Whether or not the panic and precautions are necessary is a topic for a different blog. It is certainly the case, however, that whatever the dimensions of the problem is, it is orders of magnitude more problematic in prisons and other total institutions than in other places, for obvious reasons.

Should this become more problematic, in terms of numbers of cases, it will be a real test of the Receivership's ability to handle such issues in a difficult environment.

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